The Blizzard of 2013. Lesson learned???

February 13, 2013

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As a perpetual observer of human nature, I was fascinated to watch people’s reaction to this latest storm, even though I found some of it inexplicable.

But like every other noteworthy event in life, there is a lesson to be learned, even if it is learned sub-consciously.  In the days following the storm, I had some interaction with some younger folks that weren’t around in 1978 and so have only heard stories about the the “Great Blizzard” that hit our area that year. Generally, they wanted to know if the most recent storm was worse, or on a par, with the the Blizzard of ’78.  The short answer is no……

I’m not sure what the official snowfall for our area was in this most recent storm, but on my property I have a few areas that are fairly wide open, and not subject to shifting wind currents which cause drifts. Oh sure, I had a few drifts here and there around structures, that were nearly five feet high, but in the wide open areas the snowfall looked like about a foot and a half….give or take.

A stretch of Route 128 after the Blizzard 0f ’78

The scene in Downtown Boston

Officially, the Blizzard of ’78 dropped 27 inches of snow on our area, but was worse, not because of a few additional inches of snow, but because it came about a week or two after another sizable snowfall that was over 20 inches. There was little melting of snow from the first storm by the time the blizzard came our way, and as you might expect, huge piles of it were everywhere from people shoveling or plowing themselves out. Then along comes another 27 inches complete with large drifts. The problem was where to put the snow.  Like the current storm, there was a driving ban on Mass. roads; but it lasted a whole week. Businesses were hurting because no one was allowed to drive to work.  People set out on foot to buy groceries and any other essentials they needed while the cleanup continued. In the community where I lived at the time, we were stunned to see the National Guard come up our street with one of those giant front end loaders, which was able to clean the streets and pile the snow high enough— something the ordinary plows could not do.

Nonetheless, the most recent storm does have one thing in common with the Blizzard of ’78, and that is the sub-conscious lesson learned by people younger than myself—and that gets back to the original purpose of the thread I started on the Talkback Forum:  “Enjoying the Panic so Far?”

While the memory of this past storm remains fresh in the minds of people younger than myself, it will make them less likely to be susceptible, going forward, to the induced panic that the media tries to create about every significant weather event. Oh, they will certainly try. And the next storm where we have of 6 or 8 inches of snow, they will try and hype it beyond all reality again — but fewer people will buy into it. They’ll think something along the lines of  “Hell….6 or 8 inches….no big deal after the blizzard we had. We all (except for the towns that had power outages for a ridiculous length of time) bounced back pretty quickly after that. It was a bad storm, and inconvenient, but didn’t warrant the panic the media likes to engage in. Yeah….whatever”.   I.E. : Lesson learned…….

They will also learn that the recovery from the storm was in large measure from their own resourcefulness and that of their neighbors and local folks that did the cleanup and plowing, and not the hand of Big Mommy Government coming to everyone’s rescue.

On that note, it was rather amusing to watch the imperious governor Mini-me at his press conference declaring a statewide driving ban while people on the Cape and out towards the Berkshires were not having the kind of snowfall we had here, such that it warranted such an overreaction. For the governor to make such a proclamation is one thing, but to also come up with the punishment ($500 fine and/or one year imprisonment) was an overstep of his executive power. (Now where have we seen that before recently?).

But to counterbalance the frustration of such behavior on the part of our elitist politicians, we also had the press conferences of Boston Mayor Menino, where you always get full value for your entertainment dollar, by virtue of his relentless savaging of the English language. It was fun to hear him say that they would “tin-yew” to monitor the situation in the “ciy” of Boston, and how they would “deplore” all kinds of extra equipment to fight this storm of historic “aportions”. As an aside, is it yet fair to ask: “What the hell have Boston voters been thinking?“.

Yes, it was a bit inconvenient for a day or two for most of us, and as always, there were some tragic losses of life and property, but for the vast majority of us, here we are a couple of days later, pretty much back to normal, worrying about the more mundane things of life like what to get our “sweetie” for Valentines Day. As my old friend from the past Rockland message boards, Carol Perilli, used to say: “…..and on we go!”.